Arctic Analogues of Utopia and western Elysium Planitia, Mars

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area

Tags: physical sciences, active layer, permafrost, soil, geomorphology, climate, Mars

Principal Investigator: Soare, Richard J (5)
Licence Number: 14157
Organization: Dept of Geography, Planning and Environment, Concordia University
Licenced Year(s): 2009 2007 2006 2005 2004
Issued: May 14, 2007
Project Team: Dr. Charlotte Roehm (Hydrologist and Geochemist, University of Quebec, Montreal), Geoffrey Pearce (Field Research Assistant, Concordia University), Dominic Veillette (Field Research Assistant, Concordia University), Natasha Lazschuk (Field Research Assistant, Concordia University), James Dewart (Field Research Assistant, Concordia University)

Objective(s): This project's objective is to take multiple, small .25kg samples of the active layer of permafrost in areas where patterned ground and thermokarst are present. The data gained will help the researchers in their efforts to understand possible cold climate processes in the northern hemisphere of Mars.

Project Description: This project’s objective is to take multiple, small .25kg samples of the active layer of permafrost in areas where patterned ground and thermokarst are present. The data gained will help the researchers in their efforts to understand possible cold climate processes in the northern hemisphere of Mars.

The researchers intend to visit areas in the vicinity of Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk where polygonal patterned ground and thermokarst landforms occur. The areas will be visited on foot, with the assistance of a wildlife monitor or guide. Some soil sampling will take place. However, the samples will be small (.25kg in volume) and acquired by the use of hand-held tools such as spades or shovels. Whenever soil and permafrost is disturbed, the researchers will replace the vegetative cover from where it came upon completing their work. However, most of their work is observational and based upon measurements taken with compasses, ground-penetrating radar, laser range finders, tape measures and hand-held global positioning system terminals. The researchers will be traveling into the field daily from Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. No base camps in the field will be required or established.

The researchers will remit all publications related to their field work to the various community groups in their study area. Also, during the course of their field seasons they have presented results to interested individuals through meetings at Parks Canada and/or the Aurora Institute.

Through their field work and publications the researchers have brought attention to the value of the Mackenzie River Delta and Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula as possible geological analogues of landscapes on Mars. It is hoped that other planetary science groups will find these areas equally useful and undertake studies similar to theirs.
Fieldwork will be conducted from June 28 to July 12, 2007 near Inuvik: 68.20’59”N, 133.43’0”W: 1-2km north of town airport (approx.) and 5km south of town (approx.) immediately adjacent to the Dempster Highway; near Tuktoyaktuk: 69.27’0”N, 133.1’59”W: 2-3km radius of the village (approx.).